I can’t remember when the seemingly trite expression became real to me. I think it was probably in the last ten years, but it may’ve been longer ago than that. The essence of the expression is, “Life is one gigantic lesson—or a litany thereof—to be learned.”
The point here, is it that all other things aside, it appears that none of life is accidental and that we can all learn from each moment.
The truth being told though, we don’t learn from each moment of life, regardless what is possible.
Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at things), it appears the each lesson is repeated until it is either learned or it, or something else, extinguishes one’s existence.
In the end though, we either learn the lesson, or repeat it as far as I’m able to tell.
Perhaps at some point, someone “out there,” chooses to give up—either permanently or temporarily—where particular lessons are concerned. As a Christian, I would say that God would be the “Final Authority” on that.
Perhaps some lessons are so difficult for some (or all) of us, that they must either be taught either over and over, or in bits and pieces.
Some lessons can be learned “out of context,” which may be yet another reason that care is taken in their teaching and presentation.
One thing that I believe we must all learn is, for me at least, particularly difficult to internalize; and I suspect I am far from alone in this.
The essence of this lesson is that, we are “owed” nothing, neither by fate, nor by our fellow man. What makes this lesson so difficult to grapple with, is that it is such a harsh thing to realize. Don’t get me wrong, we can do or say things, that make others beholden to us—at least for a time. Past that though, nobody owes us anything.
Various arguments can be made for what one person owes another. For example, it can be argued that when people bring children into the World, they “owe” them any future at all. The truth is though, if you believe that, you need to remember that there are those mothers who die on the birth of their children and those fathers who die before their children are even born. As mercenary as such a statement may seem, it certainly leads directly to the idea that parents actually owe their children nothing.
You may think the expressed idea(s) to be horrible, but the thing of importance is not to realize that we can and should not do things for those about us. Rather, it is to make it clear that none of the things we do for others, or others do for us are owed.
Let’s face a simple fact. Past a certain time in life, most people can learn to live entirely without the help of others. How wonderful, magical, or even average such a life would be without the help of those others, is another matter entirely though.
When one considers all the amazing inventions and even mundane acts and products involved in one’s life, it quickly becomes obvious that there is a great deal for which one must thank one’s fellow man.
Forgetting a single person’s ability to both invent and create so many things that are used in that person’s life on a day to day basis, that person would by necessity come to the conclusion that time alone would be enough of a restraining factor to make it impossible for him or her to live the life he or she now does without the help and benefit of the actions and ideas of others.
The point then, is others may have no requirement to help you, but the benefit of members of society doing things for others is entirely obvious.
This concept is a “double-edged sword.” For at the same time that we are owed nothing, we owe nothing, as I have said. Where the recognition of this fact is liberating on the one hand, on the other, it means we must decide for whom we will do what, and why; and so it is for others around us as well.
So the basis for our actions towards others is not a matter of our being beholden to others, nor are their actions so us-ward.
Then “end” of this, if you will, is that folks have a need to make decisions upon what they will act and upon what they will not. Obviously, most folks have a “sphere of influence”—though their influence may be felt far outside that space. For most folks, this somewhat simplifies the “question.”
Most people, by way of example, assume—except for doing things like, donating to causes outside of their families and friends—that the majority of their time and effort not spent on themselves will be spent on their family and friends. And before you assume something to the contrary, in general I’m not trying to say that is some horribly bad thing.
Many will take up causes for various reasons. For example Autism is something that has become near to my heart and life, because of my Autistic son.
In the end though, we must make decisions in what we will involve ourselves.
For a lot of individuals, that mostly means “tit-for-tat behavior.” Someone does something for me, I act in reciprocal fashion.
Some come to “step out” of this behavioral mode, to help those with whom they would otherwise have no relationship. At times, they do this to their own peril, or the peril of those who love them and who they love.
Obviously, your decisions surrounding who you will “help” and with whom you will associate matter a great deal. Your choices will almost certainly affect the lives of multiple others; and still others will be affected by the actions and statements of those upon whom you exert some sort of difference.
In the end though, it’s important to remember that all you do, believe and accept it or not, is a matter of your choices. Likewise for others. The only advice I can give is, “Act accordingly.”
Okay, about at the end of time and words yet again. As such, here’s hoping your time is good, and as usual, thanks for reading.